After many hours of flying, we finally discovered Beijing! First we boarded the coach that took us to our hotel (which we welcomed after a hard night on the plane), and it was during this trip that we had our first glimpse of the city and its business district.
After a short break, we left for the restaurant. It was our first culture shock; one dozen dishes of surprising flavours and tastes, each tested with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Paul, our guide, taught us to use chopsticks, and the Chinese customs confused us.
We then headed to the largest square in the world, Tiananmen. We were the second attraction of the square, as a crowd of Chinese people sought to take our photo. It was a lot of fun for us to pose for them, we saw it as a game. After that we rode in a rickshaw and it was the beginning of a fierce race in the ’Hutong’ (little alleyways) in the centre of Beijing. There, a family kindly hosted us for dinner. At the end of the meal, we celebrated the birthday of Laurane with a big cake filled with cream. And to digest all that we returned home via the Beijing subway, which is much more modern than ours!
Written by Luduvine and Morgane.
Second day on Chinese soil!
After a rather difficult awakening, we had a western breakfast. The first trip was to the Forbidden City, also known as the Purple Forbidden City. We were in another world. The place was superb with its huge courts and palace. The colours were resplendant as they had been redone for the Olympic Games. We crossed the Garden of the Emperor and then climbed the Mountain of Coal. Our little legs were suffering. Nevertheless, the view was magnificient and we were aware of the sheer size of Beijing.
With our pockets full of provisions, we left for the Great Wall of China, very warmly dressed. After about one hour on the road, we finally discovered the mountain coming out of Beijing. The Great Wall of China appeared to us, a wall snaking through the mountains; the myth took shape before our very eyes. The climb was very physical; many uneven steps on a steep slope, but once at the top (for those you made it!), the scenery was really worth it! A reference to S. Royale: we have attained ’bravitude’.
In the afternoon, we were witness to a culture clash between old and modern China with a trip to the Olympic Park, the sporting event of 2008. The buildings were very impressive. We noticed that the sports complexes were all grouped together, like a city within a city! In the stadium, we were once again impressed by the warmth of the Chinese as they all gathered around us to take our photo!
Afterwards, we returned to the bazaar. There were lots of fake goods, and vendors harassing us in order to sell their products.
In the evening, we tasted the famous Peking Duck, and then we celebrated the birthday of Laurianne in a friendly atmosphere. Congratulations go to her for cutting the cake into 28 pieces!
Aude Boscher, Julie Le Mat, Emmanuelle Floch.
Published on the : Saturday 7 February 2009
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